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Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 22:20 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 22:20 | SYDNEY

Obama's online support



1 July 2008 10:42

A quick follow-up to the Matt Bai post I wrote last week. Bai is a New York Times journalist who was briefly in Sydney to discuss the US presidential race, and particularly the role of the online world in the campaign.

One point he made that I didn't summarise in my earlier post relates to Obama's uneasy relationship with the online movement that is a large part of his success. That movement, centered on Moveon.org, is much more combatively liberal (in the US sense) than the mainstream Democratic Party, and according to Bai, is motivated in part by a desire to undo the 'triangulation' of the Clinton years, based on a centrist accommodation with Republicans. Moveon.org wants to combat the Republicans, not cooperate with them.

Obama's success is in large part down to his campaign's mastery of online fundraising and activism, aided and abeted by this pre-existing movement. But although he has tried to portray his campaign as a generational leap from Clintonism, Obama is very much of the Clinton school when it comes cooperating with Republicans. Indeed, he pitches his candidacy as a movement to transcend partisanship. 

So it was interesting to see Obama's overnight remarks on patriotism, and specifically the swipe he took at Moveon.org for their Patreaus/Betray-us ad campaign of last year. Obama is clearly confident enough of his online support that he feels he can chide his own supporters from time to time.

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